Jeff Bezos recently proclaimed that market research isn’t really helpful. In his letter to Amazon shareholders, he denounced the merits of market research—which surprised many given the company’s reliance on data-informed decision making. From my perspective, he is spectacularly wrong; even if there are nuggets of truth in his commentary. While Bezos’ sentiment may have a little bit of truth in it—the bulk of your customers can’t imagine products that haven’t yet been invented—market research still plays a critically important role at successful organizations, including Amazon.
Empathy plays an integral role in the way companies interact with consumers. It helps us understand where someone else is coming from, what they think and how they feel. As a result, it helps organizations get a better understanding of the exact kinds of products customers want. It can also help companies improve processes, services, product packaging, marketing campaigns, and more.
As companies apply agile approaches to marketing and new product development, customer centricity has become even more critical improving customer experiences, building new products, and delivering relevant marketing communications.
Forward-thinking companies are increasingly turning to online qualitative approaches in order to build better products, create better consumer experiences, and launch more successful marketing campaigns. But what is driving that change?
Most marketing and innovation teams today care deeply about capturing the customer journey - whether they think in terms of competitive analysis, customer experience, path to purchase or product testing. Understanding the customer journey—including the context behind their decisions—helps companies improve their success in many areas including entering new markets, identifying new product innovations, updating brand positioning, identifying retail opportunities, improving customer or user experiences and even responding to competition or market changes.
How well do you know your customers? You may know what they like and what they do, but do you understand why? Context is often overlooked as a key driver of decision making. The more concrete of a grasp you have on the customer journey, the better positioned your company will be to achieve its business goals.